DraftKings NASCAR: Toyota/Save Mart 350

DraftKings NASCAR: Toyota/Save Mart 350

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Toyota/Save Mart 350 

Location: Sonoma, Calif. 
Course: Sonoma Raceway 
Format: 2.5-mile road course 
Laps: 85 

Race Preview 

Joey Logano dominated most of the Firekeepers 400 at Michigan International Speedway two weeks ago, holding off Kurt Busch in an overtime finish. After a week off the teams now prepare for the unique challenges of road course racing. This week's running of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway will see NASCAR's return to using the full Sonoma circuit, including its famed carousel turn. The challenges of setting up a car as heavy and powerful as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series car are immense, but the unique road course will present opportunity for many drivers still in search of their first 2019 victory. Martin Truex Jr. led 62 of 110 laps there last year on his way to winning while Kevin Harvick led 24 in his victory the year prior. Racing at Sonoma is an entirely different animal than what the field has experienced yet this season and that could be enough to see someone new seize the opportunity and win their way into the playoffs. 

Key Stats at Sonoma Raceway 

• Number of previous races: 30 
• Winners from pole: 5 
• Winners from top-5 starters: 16 
• Winners from top-10 starters: 21 
• Winners from 21st or lower starters: 2 
• Fastest race: 83.624 mph 

Last 10 Michigan Winners 

2018 - Martin Truex Jr. 
2017 - Kevin Harvick 
2016 - Tony Stewart 
2015 - Kyle Busch 
2014 - Carl Edwards 
2013 - Martin Truex Jr. 
2012 - Clint Bowyer 
2011 - Kurt Busch 
2010 - Jimmie Johnson 
2009 - Kasey Kahne 

Sonoma Raceway is a natural terrain road course set in the hills of California's wine country. The circuit features many blind and off-camber corners that challenge drivers to get the most out of their cars. Setting the machines up to be as nimble as possible will enable drivers to change direction on a dime, giving them the chance to out brake opponents into upcoming turns. The best spot for passing is under heavy braking into the final turn that leads onto Sonoma's front straight. Moves there are set up by getting runs on the car ahead through the rolling esses. The race can be won through track position since passing can be extremely challenging, which makes qualifying one of the most important sessions of the weekend. Spots not gained on track can be made up on pit road, though. Pit strategy can also heavily influence the results. If a team can position their stops to enable their driver to spend as much time away from traffic as possible they can leap frog the cars ahead to come out on top.  

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap) 

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Kevin Harvick - $11,200 
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,800 
Kyle Busch - $10,400 

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Chase Elliott - $9,900 
Kurt Busch - $9,700 
Clint Bowyer - $9,300 
Denny Hamlin - $9,100 

DraftKings Tier 3 Values 

Ryan Blaney - $8,900 
Daniel Suarez - $8,700 
Kyle Larson - $8,500 
Jimmie Johnson - $8,300 
Erik Jones - $8,100 

DraftKings Long-Shot Values 

Chris Buescher - $7,800 
Alex Bowman - $7,500 
Ryan Newman - $7,300 
William Byron - $7,000 
Austin Dillon - $6,800 


Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,800 
Chase Elliott - $9,900 
Jimmie Johnson - $8,300 
Alex Bowman - $7,500 
Austin Dillon - $6,800 
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,600 

Martin Truex Jr. presents a bargain with Kevin Harvick being priced higher this week. Truex won last year's trip to Sonoma and led 25 laps after starting third in 2017. He was third at Michigan before last week's break and was fastest in the first practice session of the weekend. Chase Elliott has only been to Sonoma in the Cup series three times, but he won at Watkins Glen last season and finished fourth after starting third at Sonoma last year. Jimmie Johnson was also on an upward trend prior to the week off and has historically been a very strong driver on the road courses. He won at the track in 2010 and hasn't finished outside of the top 15 here since 2007. Alex Bowman continues to run on Hendrick-powered drivers with his ninth-place Sonoma finish last year. He finished 14th at Watkins Glen last year and with the right strategy calls should easily be in the top 15 this week as well. Austin Dillon may not have a top-10 at this track but he has only finished worse than 20th once in his five Cup starts. He may not be a pick to win but is likely to deliver a safe top-20 finish with positive finish differential points. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. makes a similar case to be included in this lineup as Dillon. While not noted for his strength on road courses he does have a tendency to finish better than where he starts and make it to the finish in contention for a top-20. 

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap) 

Kevin Harvick - $11,200 
Clint Bowyer - $9,300 
Kyle Larson - $8,500 
Ryan Newman - $7,300 
Paul Menard - $7,200 
David Ragan - $5,800 

Kevin Harvick's inability to get a win so far is what makes him a slightly higher-risk play this week, especially considering he is the most expensive selection on the board. That said, he has been nothing short of excellent at Sonoma and perhaps this could be the chance he needs to get his first win this season despite starting in the middle of the pack. Teammate Clint Bowyer had another rough week at Michigan two weeks ago but has traditionally been competitive at Sonoma. He won here in 2012 and has five top-5s in the last seven Sonoma races. Kyle Larson certainly knows how to get single-lap pace at this track having started in the top five in every one of his five visits. He just need to convert those starts into a top finish, similar to what he needs to get his season on track as well. Ryan Newman has been finding some traction with Roush Fenway Racing and Sonoma is likely to provide more of the same for him. In 17 track starts his starting and finishing place averages are both 13.2. He has two top-10s in the last four Sonoma races and should be a reliable top-15 driver this week. Paul Menard is increasing his competitiveness recently and should have a chance at a top-15 this weekend, too. He has one Sonoma top-5 from 2014 and could even crack the top 10 if things go his way. Fantasy owners could also substitute front-row starter William Byron in this slot. Lastly, David Ragan's price is right to finish this selection. He hasn't yet bagged a top-20 at Sonoma, but with 12 track starts and a price tag less than $6,000 he becomes a good option as he is likely to make it to the finish. He only has one Sonoma DNF.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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